New phylogenetic tool can handle the SARS-CoV-2 data load

Researchers at UC San Diego, in collaboration with UC Santa Cruz, have developed a new software tool for tracing and mapping the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that is capable of handling the unprecedented amount of genetic data being generated by the quickly evolving pathogen. The software is used to efficiently and accurately track new variants of this virus on what’s known as a phylogenetic tree: a visual history or map of an organism’s genetic changes and variations over time and geography. Using this new optimization tool, called matOptimize, researchers are now able to more accurately track the viral genome of SARS-CoV-2, mapping new variants onto the phylogenetic tree as they develop, and tracking the evolutionary and transmission dynamics of the virus.

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